The Montana Supreme Court today denied a constitutional challenge of the Montana legislature’s harmful changes to Montana’s medical marijuana law, the Missoulian reports.
In September, the Supreme Court had overturned significant parts of a lower court’s ruling which blocked some of the worst parts of the new law from taking effect.
The Supreme Court ruled in September that providers could have no more than three patients and that providers weren’t able to accept any payment to cover the operational costs of providing cannabis to patients. Before the Supreme Court ruling, the average provider had 16 patients. It costs approximately $240 to provide one ounce of cannabis to a registered patient in Montana.
Because of this ruling 5,000 of the state’s 8,000 patients will lose their licensed medical marijuana provider. They’ll have 30 days to either find a different provider or begin growing marijuana for themselves–which means they need to get permission from their landlord to do so.
There are several reasons that the new restrictions will be a problem for patients. Most patients are too sick to grow their own cannabis. Cultivation is costly and difficult, and landlords may be reluctant to sign affidavits giving renters permission to grow marijuana in the home.
In the closing days of last year’s session, legislators passed a new medical marijuana law with a veto-proof majority. The new law repealed the popular voter-approved program and forced through a new, stricter law that many say was designed to effectively end medical marijuana in the state.
An initiative referendum called IR-124 appears on the ballot this year which allows voters to either keep the current medical marijuana law or overturn it. A NO vote on IR-124 is a vote to reject the Bat Crap Crazy legislature’s changes. Several candidates this year, including Attorney General Steve Bullock in his campaign for governor, have come out in opposition to the current law and believe it should be overturned.
James Goetz, the attorney for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, will immediately seek a temporary restraining order and a second preliminary injunction to block the provisions the Supreme Court evaluated – this one under the new standard of review established by the Court in its recent ruling.